Labour making 'lobby fodder' of cancer sufferers - news from ekklesia

By staff writers
April 13, 2005

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Labour making 'lobby fodder' of cancer sufferers

-14/04/05

A pro-life group criticised Labour policy makers yesterday for hypocrisy and 'making lobby fodder' of cancer sufferers.

Many Christians have long been pushing for an increase in funding for palliative care.

Contained in the Labour party manifesto was a commitment to "increase choices for patients with cancer" by doubling the investment going into palliative care services, "giving more people the choice to be treated at home."

The move was welcomed by some campaigners against Euthanasia. Paul Bickley, Westminster Parliamentary Officer for CARE said that they welcomed any commitment to invest more in palliative care services.

"It is one of the most undervalued and under-resourced part of the health care system and offers people the opportunity for a genuinely dignified and good death without recourse to the unacceptable practice of euthanasiaî he said.

But the promise of extra cash for palliative services was described as "conscience money" by SPUC, a member of Campaign Against Euthanasia

Paul Tully, SPUC general secretary said; "The Labour government, in one of its final Parliamentary acts before the general election, pushed through legislation for euthanasia by omission. The new law, the Mental Capacity Act, will sanction the deaths of thousands of patients by withholding assisted nutrition and hydration (ANH). These patients will die of thirst - which takes about two weeks.. In this context, promising extra cash for palliative care smacks of conscience money. It is profoundly hypocritical to appeal to some (possibly) terminally ill patients in tis fashion."

"The health secretary has made clear that the Government's main concern about ANH is cost. ANH is a simple means of helping severely disabled people receive food and water - it is not a life-support machine. The extra money promised in the manifesto appears to be directed at the less seriously ill patients - as it refers to enabling patients to be treated at home."

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